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Smile 16...

Title: Smile: Break Me
Author: Arithion
Disclaimer: If they were mine, the series wouldn’t just be implied shonen-ai in certain bits… trust me... not mine
Rating: G
Genre: Angstish, bit of drama… um… yeah
Pairing: None really, heavy Fuji/Tez friendship… imply all you want though…ok and I’m willing to admit shonen-ai hints too…*grumbles*
Chapter: Sixteen
Summary: What’s behind a smile…?
Warning: Episode 36 spoiled if you haven’t already seen it. This is an extremely Fuji centric chapter, but trust me, it’s needed. Angst, revenge, brotherly spat… la la la



Smile:
Break Me



It wasn’t just retribution because of his brother, it was the fact that Mizuki seemed to have no problem with sacrificing a teammate to win. Fuji made his way onto the court, mind seething with thoughts, all of them threatening to overwhelm him. He had to exert control over himself, had to make himself calm down enough to think rationally.

Cerulean eyes scanned the court and the surrounding areas, a slight frown crossing his face as he noted the lack of people there. It wasn’t that no one was there. There were the two schools and their respective hangers on, and a few other interested parties, but it just wasn’t enough for what Fuji wanted.

As they stood in front of the umpire, Fuji found himself smiling. He had an idea, and a way he could go about it. Although, he was fairly sure he might make a few people actually believe what was happening, it was a sacrifice Fuji was willing to make.

Standing opposite Mizuki at the net, Fuji’s eyes peered out from behind tawny lashes. The handshake, the habitual handshake; there was no force in heaven or hell that would move him to giving that…boy… his hand. Just a fraction of space remained before their skin would touch, and Fuji withdrew his hand. Raising his chin slightly as the wind blew his hair, he opened his eyes.

He let all of his annoyance, frustration, anger; the pure disdain showed in his eyes. The one time he didn’t feel that he had to hide his eyes lest they show how he truly felt, because he wanted Mizuki to know… to understand when his downfall came.

There was an arrogance, a cockiness about the other boy that made Fuji’s hackles stand on end. Those smug eyes, that superior smile. Fuji would do more than knock them off that haughty face, he’d crush them until there was nothing but humiliation left.

And so the match began. Fuji served first. His shot wasn’t weak and it wasn’t his best. On the surface it showed things about him, allowed others to see a style of tennis, but on the underneath it was nothing like him at all. It was an illusion, Fuji’s illusion. Never let a potential enemy see where your true self lies, and to Fuji, almost everyone was a potential enemy.

It was easily returnable, and it let Fuji gauge his opponent’s own strengths. The return was strong and confident, but only because Mizuki presumed that Fuji would not be able to reach it. It was hard to resist reaching out for it, hard to resist playing to simply crush. But crushing wasn’t enough, and Fuji wasn’t one to rush if biding his time could get him what he wanted in a more satisfying way.

Fuji was losing, but it didn’t matter. That was the plan, after all. He shut out the murmurs he could hear, shut out the disappointment he could feel emanating from so many of the lookers on, and concentrated on what he was doing. With every ball that Mizuki hit, Fuji read him. He read the way the other boy moved, the timing with which he swung his racket, and the choice of shots that he made.

He watched for signs of weakness, and saw that Mizuki relied quite heavily on the fact that he thought he knew how Fuji played. Syusuke had to suppress a smirk. No one knew how Fuji played; not Inui, not Ryuzaki-sensai…not even Tezuka. Whatever made Mizuki think that he knew Fuji’s strengths and weaknesses, stemmed from pure arrogance.

The only thing that Fuji couldn’t quite shake, was the slightly concerned eyes Tezuka was resting on him. He knew his friend could see that he wasn’t actually losing, that he had something up his sleeve. But Fuji couldn’t spare time for that, not if he wanted to do what he’d set out to do.

The crowd around the court was growing, and it made Fuji smile, despite himself. People were so predictable. Coming to see the Seigaku prodigy get thrashed, they played right into his hands. The score was getting to a stage that he would have to make his move and as the umpire called five games to love in Mizuki’s favour, the prodigy flexed his hands.

Change of sides was called, and as Fuji walked past his opponent, he suddenly felt the need to just make sure that he’d been right.

“Mizuki.” He waited for some sort of response of from the other, and the grunt was enough of one for him. “I’m going to ask this just in case. Did you teach Yuuta the Twist Spin Shot even though you knew the damage it’d do to his shoulder?” He waited, almost hoping that he’d been wrong.

That voice was calm, cool and full of self-righteousness. “Winning’s the most important thing. To me, there are casualties to victory.”

It was all Fuji needed to hear, in fact, it was what he wanted to hear. He reached into his bag and retrieved his golden racket. A calm washed over him as he zoned himself into playing mode. Perhaps it wasn’t the type of serious mode Tezuka meant when he asked him to play seriously, but it was a type of serious that Fuji could manage easily… especially under circumstances like these.

Fuji decided he’d had enough warming up.

Mizuki served, and Fuji focused. He could see that cocky grin, assuming that the prodigy wouldn’t make it to the ball in time. A slight increase in tempo was all Fuji needed in order to arrive at the ball in time. He almost laughed at the other boy’s response.

Mizuki’s face was shocked. “No way… That was supposed to go to your weak side.”

As the wind blew, Fuji felt recharged, as if something was laughing with him. “That shot just now was aimed at my stronger side.”

The black haired boy’s eyes were full of shock and confusion. He reacted badly; trying everything he could conceive of, placing shot after shot, expecting that he would find a weakness somewhere. Bewildered mutterings could be heard from the other side of the court. “Why’s this happening? They were all to his weak side.”

It was all Fuji could do to keep from laughing, and he decided he could afford to be smug himself. Smile back on his face, he stood up straight, looking directly at the other boy. “Weak side? They were all to my forte.”

Fuji didn’t leave enough time for the realisation to sink in for too long. He wanted Mizuki to suffer, wanted all of those people standing around the court to witness that humiliation. The boy deserved to be laughed at, he deserved to have that confidence crushed.

With every shot he placed, Fuji’s mind screamed within its confines. It wasn’t just the fact that Mizuki had taught his brother that shot, although it was a large part of his reasoning. The fact was, that the St. Rudolph manager was unscrupulous. He had no care for what damange he might cause anyone, whether it be an opponent or a team-mate. All the other boy cared about was winning, and it was something Fuji couldn’t agree with. There was so much more to life than winning.

And still, he could feel Tezuka watching him, brown eyes slightly disapproving behind those glassed. It was a disapproval that no one else there would give Syusuke, because no one else knew him as well as Tezuka did. No one else realised Fuji had planned it this way.

Every shot he placed was almost impossible for the other boy to reach. It made Mizuki look incompetent, and that was exactly what Fuji wanted. You didn’t play god in people’s lives without consequences… at least not people Fuji cared about.

The other boy failed to score even one more point. Adrenaline pumped through Fuji, it rejuvenated him, made him feel. This wasn’t a side of himself that he liked, and it wasn’t a side that he let out often. Sometimes though, sometimes he felt it necessary, and other times it got out of control. He refused to think just what time this one was.

Seven straight games later, Fuji stood victorious. Score: Seven games to five. He watched dispassionately as the other boy’s racket fell from his fingers, and with something almost akin to scorn as Mizuki fell to his knees with a long, loud cry. Moving forward, Fuji let his shadow fall over the other boy.

Mizuki looked up, humiliation and defeat in his eyes, along with something that looked almost like anger. “ You bitch! You lost 0 – 5 at the start on purpose! Playing me like that…”

Fuji bit back the retort on his tongue, he bit back that Mizuki should shut up and take his own medicine, and instead only said one thing. Eyes open and voice filled with disdain, he spoke low so that only Mizuki would hear. “Thank you for taking care of my brother.”

The other boy stayed on the ground, eyes focusing on his hands. There was utter defeat in that posture, and a bewilderment that almost made Fuji regret what he’d done, but he refused to… even if the weight of Tezuka’s gaze spoke of slight disappointment. There was no pain, Fuji refused to give into it.

He let the other congratulate him, let himself be group hugged, and photographed, while inside he was in turmoil, suddenly not feeling all that good. His smile returned belatedly, its familiar feeling welcomed. But he couldn’t seem to shake the sense that Tezuka wasn’t impressed, because the older boy didn’t come anywhere near him after the match.

Never one to let things bother him, Fuji was surprised that he felt so… lost without that presence next to him. So he concentrated on persuading Yuuta to come home and have dinner with their mother, sister and him. It wasn’t so much persuasion as it was coercion. He knew Yuuta would give in eventually, even if it were just to get Syusuke to shut up.

~*~

Fuji sat at the table with his siblings and mother. It was rare that the entire family could eat together, rare enough that his mother was actually home. He still didn’t feel too good, but was happy that he’d managed to convince Yuuta to come home. The genuine smile on his mother’s face was enough to make Fuji down a few mouthfuls of food even though his stomach was rebelling.

The talk centred on the tennis tournament, and it was all Fuji could do to steer the conversation away from the fact that his school had won, and that Fuji himself had too. He tried, and after a while succeeded, to turn the conversation to Yuuta’s much improved game. It was the least he could do…to at least give Yuuta the recognition he deserved at home.

As it got later, Fuji’s mood didn’t improve. He could see the sky growing dark outside, and not just dark with the coming of nighttime, but dark with storm clouds. Idly, he wondered why the day was going to have such a… dismal end.

He didn’t have to wait long to find out. As he came down from finishing off a piece of homework he’d forgotten about, and made his way to the living room, Yuuta stopped him at the steps.

Grey eyes locked onto cerulean, searching for something. There was nervousness in them, as if Yuuta was going to say something he usually wouldn’t, something that would embarrass him. Fuji just let him have the time he needed to gather himself to speak, knowing that his younger brother had a gruff way with words, and difficulty saying anything where that way was not appropriate.

“Brother…” Yuuta seemed to be struggling. “I want to thank you… for… I didn’t realise… about my shoulder.”

Fuji smiled. “I know…and it’s okay.” It almost made Fuji feel warm almost made up for the fact that he hadn’t spoken to Tezuka since the match.

But then Yuuta spoke. “It’s not okay.” Those grey eyes flashed with something like anger, barely contained at that. “What you did was wrong!”

The younger boys voice was getting louder with each word, and Fuji took an involuntary step back, not quite understanding. When he was enlightened, he wished he hadn’t been.

“What you did was cruel! Did you enjoy tearing down someone? You could have beaten him in six straight games…”

Fuji blinked, smile frozen in place so hard that he couldn’t budge it, and he knew it would make him seem even more heartless, maybe it would be right. He had no idea how his voice managed to sound so serene, so matter of fact when he spoke. “He hurt you, he’d hurt anyone. I…”

But Yuuta wasn’t about to let him finish. “He’s my friend, brother. You didn’t need to go to extremes. It was uncalled for.” And still the voice grew louder, at least to Fuji’s ears. “You were cruel, downright cruel.”

“Yuuta! Syusuke!” Their mother appeared at the living room doorway, hands on hips. “Stop it. Right now.”

Yuuta managed to look contrite and mumbled a “Yes, mother.”

Fuji couldn’t, he just blinked again and clung to the smile, because he had to. If he let go of it now, he’d crumble and he had no idea how to pick himself back up. So he smiled even more. “I’m going for a walk.” It was all he said, the only words he could squeeze past that lump in his throat.

He just knew that he needed to get out, and needed to be gone right then. He might have heard Yuuta call after him not to go; that it was raining, but part of Fuji thought that was just wistful thinking.

Syusuke didn’t register the cool water as it broke away the last of his smile. All he heard was the closing of the door, allowing him to let go of the last vestiges of his defences, because outside, no one would see him.

~~**~~

Bear with me… this chapter had to happen for the next chapter to be able to exist!

Reviews loved lots!!!!

Comments

( 26 raindrops — Make it rain )
yuki_scorpio
Apr. 17th, 2004 05:41 pm (UTC)
;_; Not much Tezuka in this chapter... but oh well, I'm sure the wait will be worth it!!!

Poor Syusuke though... *sigh* but I can't blame Yuuta, the boy's only 13 and he probably doesn't understand his brother well enough :(
arithion
Apr. 17th, 2004 06:10 pm (UTC)
yeah... sorry... bit more Tez in next chapter *hugs*
This chapter was fairly important though, needed to happen.

and yeah, I don't blame Yuuta either.
lina_lau
Apr. 17th, 2004 05:41 pm (UTC)
*luffles chapter* I don't hate you for it~~! In fact, I love you, haha. *hugglesnuggleglomptackleywoo* Heh, it's great! You portray his emotions so very well. ^_^ Can't wait for the next one!
arithion
Apr. 17th, 2004 06:11 pm (UTC)
*snugs* :) Glad you liked it hon... 17 won't be long
summertea
Apr. 17th, 2004 05:50 pm (UTC)
;____;

And then he goes Tezuka's andtheyhavesex. *keff*

.____. Yuuta....

*huggles Syuusuke*

Really like the last part. ^_^
arithion
Apr. 17th, 2004 06:13 pm (UTC)
lol *hugs* hehe
Glad you liked it ...

17 coming shortly
nachtmusik
Apr. 17th, 2004 06:01 pm (UTC)
::sniffle:: the end brought tears to my eyes! uwahhh...I just love this story...can't get enough!
arithion
Apr. 17th, 2004 06:14 pm (UTC)
ooo, I teared someone up!!! cooooolness!!!

*snugs* 17 isnt too far away!
violetfury
Apr. 17th, 2004 07:16 pm (UTC)
I liked it even though Tezuka was hardly in it.
Fuji being ruthless is cool but too bad Yuuta didn't see it that way.
arithion
Apr. 17th, 2004 07:50 pm (UTC)
*hugs* thankee for still liking it... promise Tez makes a comeback hehe

and yeah... Yuuta was thankful... just annoyed at the way Fuji went about it...

Chapter 17 coming soon
merigold
Apr. 17th, 2004 09:12 pm (UTC)
This is great! ^^ *is a nitpicker* I noticed this, though...

>As they stood in front of the umpire, Fuji found himself smiling

Isn't an umpire for baseball? I could just be out of the loop 0.o I thought tennis was referee.
merigold
Apr. 17th, 2004 09:22 pm (UTC)
And now that I've finished the whole chapter-

Eeeeeeeeeeeee! Fuji! No! Don't go out into the rai~~~n! Poor guy.

Love your writing, by the way ^^
arithion
Apr. 18th, 2004 03:29 am (UTC)
actually no... it's an umpire... I checked before I wrote it :) Grammar mistakes I make, but I usually try to get my facts straight /snicker

Well glad you liked the chapter :) and I love that icon

*wanders off to work on 17 now*
stardarkangel
Apr. 17th, 2004 10:28 pm (UTC)
*sniff*
Hi hi! ^_^

I like how you captured Yuuta and Syusuuke's feelings in this chapter. Although overall, it left me slightly depressed.

Await your next update.
arithion
Apr. 18th, 2004 03:30 am (UTC)
Re: *sniff*
awww sorry hon *hugs* I'll cheer you up with the next chapter, promice *smiles*

Thank you for reading!
lethanon
Apr. 18th, 2004 01:33 am (UTC)
*happy sigh* ah, the angst of arith...I remember now! lol. Sorry, haven't read anything in a while...but just caught up with this and am loving it! So...ah...where is the rest? *pokes arith* hey??? go write git! I lurve the fuji in this...every now and then I want to know what is going through tezuka's head, but its all goot...and our poor boy is in the rain! *squee* good, angsty things always happen in the rain...and so do the best make up sessions! HAHA
arithion
Apr. 18th, 2004 03:35 am (UTC)
hey... you're reading Prince of Tennis? Wow ... heh... cool. You should know my angst manages to creep in everywhere lol... it's like a disease
Hey I've pumped out 16 chapters since the 16th of March... be nice lol
and if you want to know what's in Tezuka's head, go read the side story he thwapped me with here
Yeah rain seemed, appropriate :)... chapter 17 coming soon
lethanon
Apr. 18th, 2004 04:28 am (UTC)
well, u see...trixie in her infinite wisdom sent me the first 81 eps (she is now sending the rest, silly git)...and stupid me in return watched them all at once...as in non stop....and now I'm addicted...its like trying to come off a tennis high...I had to have more, so went fanfic hunting and I remembered seeing your journal updates with pot fics...so...end of story. lol

...how soon is soon? lol
kateriya
Apr. 18th, 2004 02:13 am (UTC)
awww. poor fuji. and he was only being the self-professed protector of the people he cared about. sometimes family can be so insensitive...*cuddles fuji* i usually wouldn't say this about fuji, but syuusuke is pretty sweet a brother ^_^

(the chapter came when i needed the distraction; thank you.)
arithion
Apr. 18th, 2004 03:37 am (UTC)
*smiles* glad I could help hon *hugs*

Well you see, Fuji actually reminds me of my own brother in a lot of ways, which is probably why I can't ship Fujicest lol... Although my brother doesnt have the smile thing going, he is majorly overportectice and would do anything for me

*hugs* thank you for snuggling Fuji :) ... and I promise you Tezuka in the next chapter *smiles*
kateriya
Apr. 18th, 2004 05:13 am (UTC)
Tezuka! yay~!

i can't see fujicest too, actually... incest isn't my type. *eyedart*
moffit
Apr. 20th, 2004 02:44 am (UTC)
oooh that was a nice way of explaining how the hell Mizuki managed to get 5-0 on Fuji. Dun care, I'm seeing this chapter as canon. :p And yay, angst flying all over the place! Still have the glare from Tezuka to get to, so even more angst!
arithion
Apr. 20th, 2004 02:51 am (UTC)
/snicker... yep
It was allll planned, I swear... at least that's how I always saw it

*snugs*
fic_faery
May. 15th, 2004 07:56 pm (UTC)
there was no force in heaven or hell that would move him to giving that…boy… his hand
One of my favourite Fuji moments (and trust me there are many) is when he disses Mizuki by not shaking his hand. I think you captured it and what could be going through his mind wonderfully.

In fact I think the whole Mizuki match and the way Fuji planned it is exactly what went through his head. Although I like how you have him throwing the first five games to not only humiliate Mizuki but to also draw a bigger crowd in to witness it.

You didn’t play god in people’s lives without consequences… at least not people Fuji cared about.
Have I mentioned yet that I love the evil Fuji?

Never let a potential enemy see where your true self lies, and to Fuji, almost everyone was a potential enemy.
That line sums up a large part of Fuji so well. There are so many different versions of Fuji's personality that are written about but your's is so well rounded and real it's so easy to believe that he is completely canon and can live inside Konami's Tenipuri world.

I liked the brother interaction again even if Yuuta did call Fuji cruel(come on, a person who wears pink flowers on a purple sweater deserves to be beat). But Yuuta probably respects Mizuki for not treating him like Fuji's little brother and he would probably also feel sympathy for Mizuki for getting beaten by the prodigy. And since Fuji is almost obsessed with his brother it's easy to see how the comment would hurt Fuji so much.

Now I'll have to go read the next chapter in hopes that Tezuka will rescue him from the rain and make him feel better.
arithion
May. 16th, 2004 08:26 pm (UTC)
*snuggles you and your reviews*

It's the way I see Fuji. He's like an Onion! (pardon the Shrek analogy hahaha) lots of layers, hiding other layers ;)

I love my Fuji, and I understand that not everyone interprets him this way, but I'm so glad you like him :) hehe

Hope you like 17 when you get to it!

crypticmadness
Nov. 5th, 2007 02:31 am (UTC)
Rawr. That was a bit mean of Yuuta, but I guess he's kind of right about it being cruel.
But I'm still sympathizing with Syuusuke and only Syuusuke. Yes, I'm probably biased, but...
MY POOR BABY! D=
Yeah, okay, I'm done. And I do feel guilty because this is only the second review I've given for these...but I'm trying to kind of finish them. I hate having stories I'm not done with and reading others. ^^;
Anyways, well done, as always. Love<3
( 26 raindrops — Make it rain )